Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wear Jeans to Work and Be Healthier?

If bosses cared about your health and fitness, they would encourage you to wear jeans every day!

That's right, every day should be casual day. A study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise, a non-profit fitness advocate, shows that physical activity during the workday increased by 8 percent when casual clothing was worn instead of formal business attire. It's estimated that office workers who wear jeans burn an additional 25 calories a day.

Over 50 work weeks during the year that amounts to a whopping 6,250 calories. Yes, it seems it would be possible to lose about two pounds a year just by wearing jeans to work. This is significant when you consider that adults typically gain 0.4 to 1.8 pounds annually.

The study, which was led by Katie Zahour and John Porcari from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, examined 53 healthy men and women with an average age of 42. For two days a week over a two-week period, the study participants wore a pedometer to work. On one of those days each week they dressed in formal business attire, and on the other day they dressed in blue jeans.

Quite simply, the level of workday physical activity increased when casual clothing was worn. Specifically, the participants took an average of 491 more steps--that's an 8 percent increase--on the days they wore jeans, compared with the days they wore suits and dresses. Add it up and they walked 2.85 miles in the office hallways on jeans day, compared with 2.64 miles on business attire days.

"Over the last 25 years, advances in technology combined with our hectic lifestyles have help to virtually eliminate physical activity from our daily routines," said Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., chief exercise physiologist for ACE. "Wearing casual, comfortable clothes to work may be an easy way to encourage us to put physical activity back into our daily lives."

The study results were published in ACE Fitness Matters magazine.

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